KORG has a way of coming up with hardware that’s fun to use. The KORG KAOSSILATOR, a simple, cheap AA battery-powered box packed with sound-making functionality, had already won some hearts over. Touch its X/Y pad, and the KAOSSILATOR responds with built-in synth programs and arpeggiators, all mapped cleverly to the touchpad to stay in the key range you desire.

The KAOSSILATOR Pro really appears to be a hybrid of the KAOSSILATOR and KORG’s KP3 effects/sampler box. In fact, it’s really closer in appearance and function to the KP3. Like the KP3, the “Pro” has phrase sampling capabilities and effects, so you can route in an audio source or mic, and store banks of sampled phrases on SD card. It simply combines that with the playable instruments of the KAOSSILATOR.

The upshot of all of this, of course, is that you get a box you can play like an instrument, use as an effects box, use as a sampler, or a combination of all three. And while that sacrifices some of the simplicity of the KAOSSILATOR, that could be a potent combination. For effects, you get gate arpeggiators for rhythmic effects and vocoders that work with your mic. I’ll need to get a rundown from KORG on the exact specs — it looks like the KP3 is still a beefier sampler and effects box than the KAOSSILATOR Pro. But even if that’s the case, it could be more than worth the tradeoff for getting the instrument in there, too. I know plenty of users, casual and advanced, addicted to the KAOSSILATOR; the ability to plug in a mic and use a vocoder is likely to win more.

KORG, you just won a spot on our NAMM booth itinerary. And yeah, this could be a fun box to have around or even plug into a laptop.

Sure, it seems like the easy way out – take two things people love, squish them together, and people will love the result. That can’t work, can it?

Two words: cheese fries.

Check out the full specs:

Updated: remember how I said this isn’t a KP3? Readers in comments have begun digging into some of those limitations. The “Pro” KAOSSILATOR loses some of the fun of the non-Pro model: it’s bigger, clunkier,and it isn’t battery-powered. That’d be fine, if the payoff were greater editability. But the Pro KAOSSILATOR is more fixed in its functions, even a little limited compared to the KP3. That may not dampen your enthusiasm entirely: this is still a box that does phrase sampling, some effects, and the KAOSSILATOR’s touch-playable synths. But you can see why some folks want a “KP4” – a combination of these two devices with more functionality, not less, than the two alone. I’ll talk to KORG, probably after NAMM, to get the exact run-down on the difference between the three models, as we’re all just reading spec sheets at this point. But you can consider that a collective snap-reaction in the meantime.